Saturday, July 30, 2011

Treacle, Thunder and Lightning



        A term which in Britain may be correctly applied to various SUGAR syrups including GOLDEN SYRUP obtained during the process of sugar-refining, ranging in colour from just about black to pale golden, is in practice used mainly of the darker syrups, brown or black, which are called molasses elsewhere.

        TREACLE TART is a favourite dessert in England.  Treacle, of the dark sort, also appears in THUNDER AND LIGHTNING.

From:  Alan Davidson, The Oxford Companion To Food.  Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999.


Thunder and Lightning -- 
Clotted Cream with Black Treacle
(from The Old Foodie -- a fabulous blog)

        As a little variation from the topic of old food-words, today I want to briefly revisit an English dialect phrase which I have touched on previously, in one of my posts on ‘The Naming of Dishes.’ ‘Thunder and Lightning’, as far as I understood it, refers to clotted cream and treacle, or bread or scones served with the same, in a regional variation of the standard English afternoon ‘cream tea’ concept. 

        I came across another reference to Thunder and Lightning the other day, as indicating a beverage, so I went in brief pursuit of the phrase. It apparently also sometimes refers to gin & bitters (an Irish usage), or (less commonly), shrub & whiskey (Anglo-Indian.)  Finally, it may mean ‘brandy sauce ignited’ - so think on that next time you inflame your Christmas pudding.

        ‘Shrub’ deserves its own post tomorrow, so the recipe for the day, inspired by today’s topic, is for Treacle scones. These are a wonderful northern English and Scottish variation on the inexhaustible topic of scones (note link) in general, and are particularly associated with Halloween. The recipes are taken from Daily Cookery from Breakfast to Supper, by Eleanor Sproat, 1923

Oven Treacle Scones

1 lb. flour, 1 teacupful of milk, 1 tablespoonful of treacle, 3 ozs. lard or margarine, ½ teaspoonful of baking soda, ½ teaspoonful of sugar, a pinch of salt.

Rub lard into flour and sugar, then add baking soda and salt. Have the egg [not listed in the ingredients] well beaten with a teacupful of milk into which the treacle has been mixed. Stir all into the flour and mix altogether with a knife into a fairly stiff dough. Roll out into the thickness of an inch, cut into four and put into a floured baking tin and bake in a quick oven from ten to fifteen minutes. A teaspoonful of cinnamon or ginger may be added, according to taste.

Treacle Scones

¼ lb flour, ½ tablespoonful sugar, ¼ teaspoonful ground ginger, ½ tablespoonful melted treacle, ¼ oz. butter, ¼ teaspoonful baking soda, a good pinch of salt, a little buttermilk.

Method: Mix [dry] ingredients. Rub in butter. Milk to make a softish dough. Finish like ordinary scones. Bake on hot girdle or oven.

Golden treacle

Lyle's Black Treacle

Treacle Tarts

Nigel Slater's Treacle Sponge

The caption read:  "A gratuitous shot of Clotted Cream.  One glance is worth one million calories."



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